Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Zachary's Birthday

Originally my section date was Friday 29th November, but after my little stint in hospital with the infection at 35 weeks and my subsequent wobbly meltdown that week my consultant moved section day to Tuesday 26th November when I would be 37+2 weeks. She wanted to get me to 37 weeks and Tuesday was the earliest elective section day at the hospital.  Only a few days difference but a few days less to cope all the same!

So the weekend before we spent enjoying Xander on his own for the last few days. Took him to soft play, treated him, extra cuddles and fuss, started Christmas for him by decorating the tree early with him (as I didn’t think I would be up to it until practically Christmas day after the section!) Just felt all emotional about changing his entire world all weekend and kept looking at him swelling with pride and love for the special boy he is and the special two years we’ve had with him.

Then Monday I had my pre-op and it suddenly started feeling very real! I was very nervous Monday night which I hadn’t expected at all. I didn’t sleep very well and was basically awake from 4.00am.

Tuesday we arrived at the hospital at 7.30am as told to and then was told I was second on the list, so earliest I would be going in would be 10-10.30am, which did nothing for my nerves, as three hours at this point felt like eternity. We were put in a side room off the main waiting area in maternity and basically left to our own devices most of the time. They had a quick listen in to baby, did my obs, gave me my sexy stockings and gown and then just left us to it for what felt like years! The surgeon and anaesthetist popped in to say hello and said they would accommodate as much of my birth plan as they could (e.g. Jon seeing him be born, photos, skin to skin etc) as long as all was well.

Last picture as a bump!
Fear really started to get the better of me and I spent the whole morning obsessing about Zac’s movements and poking and prodding him. I was convinced we were going to lose him at the last hurdle. Completely irrational but the wait was not helping my anxiety at all.

Luckily my best friend had a scan at the hospital that morning, so when she text at 9.45am to see if I’d gone in yet and hadn’t she popped by to see us for a while. That really broke the rest of the time up and she spent about 45 minutes with us, but it was 10.30am now and I still hadn’t gone down to theatre!

I was finally called into theatre at 11.00am and there was a very nice reassuring team who did a great job of calming me down, and they just got on with it all straight away. I had been really nervous of the spinal block but I barely noticed it! The anaesthetist was amazing and it was just done before I really knew about it, so obviously very good at his job!

He talked to us throughout the operation, explaining what was happening, why things were taking as long as they were at any point, reassuring me that I was ok and what he was doing at each point. At one point I thought it was taking too long and something must be wrong, remembering that Xander was born three minutes from first incision and we were definitely over that, but he explained with an elective they can take their time a bit more so it would take a little longer for him to be born.

Given straight to Mummy 
And then they said he was coming, lowered the screen and Jon saw (and took photos!) of Zachary being just born! Nine minutes from first incision,  finally we heard our little man scream and the relief was overwhelming. Zachary Stephen, born at 11:44 am on 26th November 2013 weighing a miniature 7lb 9oz compared to his brothers 8lb 13oz when born exactly a week earlier!  And the very best bit of all is that I got immediate skin to skin with him. Jon said I was absolutely beaming the whole time he was on my chest! It was beautiful and just perfect... He kept making little squeaking noises and nuzzling into my face – trying to latch onto my cheek!

Unfortunately the section itself wasn’t as straight forward as we would have hoped, although initially cuddling Zachary on my chest I was too focussed on him to really take in what was going on with me. They thought they had nicked my bladder so had to put blue dye in it to see if anything leaked, thankfully it didn’t and that was all intact. But blood loss was an issue and I felt quite frightened for a while afterwards in recovery. In the initial surgery they decided to leave a drain in because they weren’t happy with the blood loss, then in recovery they kept checking me/changing me as I was soaking through bed pad after bed pad quite quickly and the surgeon applied pressure dressings to try and get on top of things, a little while after that I was put on a drip of something too to contact everything and try and reduce the blood loss.

Zac and Daddy
At one point taking me back into theatre was mentioned and I felt really really panicked, all the while the Dr and Jon reassuring me that I was ok and it was going to be ok but the blood loss and aftershock of surgery/drugs was starting to affect me and I wasn’t feeling so well.

Luckily they got it under control but instead of going straight up to the post-recovery ward as I was told would happen they moved me back to delivery ward next to theatre just incase. I had to remain nil-by-mouth too, and by this point I was feeling woozy and really really parched because I’d already been nil-by-mouth for 12 hours and couldn’t even have a sip of water. It was a long day.

 I was finally allowed to start having tiny occasional tiny sips of water to wet my mouth at 3.00pm and 7.00pm they let me try a bit of toast, which made me feel very sick so they had to give me more anti-sickness meds.

Zachary Stephen
Zac's first feed
Another lovely moment was Zac’s first feed about two hours after he was born. I was desperate for it to be sooner this time, but unfortunately with them all working on me for a while and concentrating on getting it all under control we had to wait until they were happy and I was feeling a bit better again. But even though he had had to wait two hours it was a lovely moment; unlike Xander who wouldn’t latch and ended up having his first colostrum expressed via syringe, Zac latched beautifully and we had a gorgeous 10 minute Mummy milk cuddle.

I was still on delivery ward at 5.00pm but luckily Xander was allowed to come out to the hospital. They did a great job of taking me off some of the bleeping machines and hiding other wires so nothing would frighten him. I really needed to see him and really wanted him to meet his brother they day he was born. It was gorgeous. He was excited to see the baby and peeked over the cot at him then gave him lots and lots of kisses and cuddles. He was also very pleased with all the presents Zac had bought for him!

I was thrilled it had gone so well, but visiting me the next two nights was really hard. He was less interested in Zac and just not himself, very unsettled not understanding why he couldn't climb on me or sit on my lap or give me proper cuddles and sobbed when it was time to leave me – which left me a sobbing mess too hearing his cry Mummy all the way down the corridors.

My Rainbow Boys

My Rainbow Family
It wasn’t until 9.00pm the night Zac was born that they decided I was well enough to be transferred upstairs to post-op care ward on maternity.  It had been a very long day and the next day wasn’t much better, when the drain and pressure bandages were removed. The drain coming out was possibly the most painful experience of my life, I absolutely howled and they had to get me gas and air to barely cope with it. I would be absolutely terrified of having one of those again.

Generally I’ve recovered much more slowly this time, and the pain has been unbearable at times.  We came home on the Friday afternoon, but by Saturday night I was coping so badly with the pain (coupled with a cold and cough making everything worse and excruciating every time I needed to cough) I was weeping all over Jon and sobbing down the phone to an out of hours Doctor at midnight asking for something stronger than the paracetomal and ibuprofen I’d been sent home with as painkillers. They told me to take co-codomol with ibuprofen instead and after half a day I actually felt more together than I had in days, and just generally more in control.

A week later, I finally started to feel like I’d turned the corner and felt much more like myself. Still sore, but totally manageable now whereas over the weekend everything had been just too much. Unsurprising when you’ve been given headache tablets to take as pain relief from major abdominal surgery! I’m positive I was on co-codomol from day one with Xander, so I’m confused as to why I had much less pain relief initially this time around. Day 12 and I haven't taken any painkillers for 24 hours, and feel like I can play properly with Xander again, so I'm definitely coping better now! 

Zac is just beautiful and totally worth it. He seems so teeny tiny compared to Xander as a newborn, but identical too. The first day I kept looking at him and having to remind myself what year is was and which baby it was. It is like turning the clock back in some ways. I see lots of similarities between all of my babies. Infact I think Zac looks even more like Belle than Xander did, because he is smaller and has such delicate features. He keeps pulling what I call a ‘Belle’ face and it is like looking at her. Beautiful but very bittersweet.

I still can’t believe I had a 7 pounder, I was convinced the last scan estimate must be completely wrong and he would be nearer to 9 pound like his brother was. But the last scan was more or less spot on when they said he was about 7lb 4oz four days before he was born! Since birth he has dropped to 7lb 2oz, and with him being poorly at a week old we haven't seen a weight gain yet. He really does feel absolutely skinny and tiny in my arms and just a beautiful ball of newborn baby! 

We’re hopefully getting there with the feeding now. After his first feed he wasn’t as good and spent day one and two having a mix of me, expressed colostrum via syringe and tiny amounts of formula via syringe to stablise his blood sugars which were very up and down. His tiny heels are still covered in the constant puncture marks from doing blood tests. But Zac was trying really hard and day three something seemed to click and he fed really well for a few days and we didn’t need to do top-ups anymore. Then of course it all went wrong when he was poorly and readmitted to hospital mid-week last week and needing a few feeds of expressed milk via NG tube. But he's turned the corner again and feeding well again now and we were discharged again today.

More than anything I’m still thrilled his first feed was cuddled up with me and that we’ve been breastfeeding for nearly two weeks and mostly its been a better start than last time, in that apart from when being unwell, Zac seems to have more of an instinct in what to do and has learnt to latch! 

We originally came home on Friday 29th November, my original section date and it was lovely. Walking out of hospital with him was as overwhelming as it had been with Xander, the feeling of having ‘made it’ and my baby leaving hospital with me is something I can’t quite describe. Xander settled right down again when we were home and seems smitten with his baby brother. He keeps demanding cuddles and wants to hold him all of the time. Keeps going over to him to share his toys with him, give him kisses and fuss. It is beautiful to watch and making my heart melt. I’m so so proud of what a loving wonderful big brother he is being, and love them both so much. 

Leaving hospital!

We're all home!

I'm really going to enjoy being Mummy to two rainbow boys, Zac has fitted right into our family and we really have been doubly blessed with two very precious sons. 

My special boys :)


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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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